Fr. James' Letters

July 18, 2021

Dear Parishioners,

We struggle to rest. It sounds crazy, doesn't it? We think we enjoy relaxing, and we think we desire it, and yet it unsettles us to just be and do nothing. How many of you arrive on your vacation, near a beautiful lake or wherever, and immediately need to get up and do something, go somewhere? Why is that? 

I'll speak for myself. I have an urge to constantly work and "do." The source of this impetus is a (false) understanding that I am a work in progress, an unfinished project. Something from a very early age has always been whispering in my ear, "keep working... keep achieving... things still aren't right... you're not good enough." And so I keep going and I keep trying to achieve that elusive goal of perfection. When I am not working, but relaxing, I'm a little uneasy. It is hard for me to trust that I am, actually, just fine; that I don't need to do anything to be good; and that I especially don't need to do anything to earn God the Father's love. The subtle lie whispered to me is that if I'm not doing then I'm bad.

That's why our Lord's invitation to “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while" (Mark 6:31) is a beautiful one. We can simply be at rest with God. Jesus looks favorably upon us when we are not doing anything. When we rest with the Lord, we are being rejuvenated, we are exercising trust in God's unconditional love for us, and we are letting God do the work.

That's one of the reasons I love rocking chairs (my next mission, by the way, is to find some outdoor rocking chairs for the porch of the rectory). I can sit back with a book (or rosary or cold beer or cigar or all of the above) in hand, and be with Jesus by my side. You should try it sometime.

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We are making progress towards reopening our Perpetual Adoration Chapel. In order to open as soon as possible, we need to have every hour of every day of the week filled with at least two scheduled adorers. Many time slots are still unfilled, so, please, consider signing up. Send an email to Vince Ross (adorationchapel@spc-church.org) with your available days and times to adore. Also let Vince know if you are interested in taking on more of a leadership role in the adoration ministry. Finally, feel free to also spread the word with family members and friends, even ones who are not parishioners at Saint Paul.

We are looking to create a men's spiritual group here at the parish. That Man Is You is a weekly program that combines breakfast, a video lecture, and small group discussion. It focuses on key topics affecting men today - like finding fulfillment in work and retirement, being a good Dad in the age of social media, and loving your wife as your bride. The program has been widely successful in changing men's lives at parishes across the country. The program will begin this fall, but right now, men are needed to help get the program ready to launch. Time commitment is minimal. Please get in touch with Will Gohl - his information is in the bulletin - to learn more.

Again, we are resuming the rectory meals for Tuesday and Saturday nights. The sign up is through TakeThemAMeal. Thank you again in advance for feeding us!

I take an annual vacation around this time with my priest-friends with whom I studied in seminary. There are six of us and we have been taking this trip for nine years now, as long as we've been priests. I will be away Monday, July 19 until Monday, July 26. So, if you don't see me around, it's not because I ran away. In fact, I've felt very welcome in these three weeks, and I'm grateful for all of your support thus far. I will be praying for you while I am away.

Yours in Christ,

Who is Fr. James?

Father James Wallace grew up in Winnetka, Illinois and attended Sts. Faith Hope and Charity grammar school, New Trier High School, and then The George Washington University in Washington DC, where he earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science in 2007. He attended seminary at The Pontifical North American College in Rome and was ordained a priest in 2012 for the Archdiocese of Chicago. In addition to being the pastor of Saint Paul of the Cross Parish, he serves as a canon lawyer for the Archdiocese, a dean in Vicariate II, and a professor of canon law and spiritual director at Mundelein Seminary. He is also one of the featured Mercy Home Sunday Mass celebrants, airing Sundays at 9:30am on WGN.

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Contact Information

St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068


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Phone: (847) 825-7605

Mass Schedule

UC = Upper Church

HFC = Holy Family Chapel

Monday - Friday

6:25 am (UC)

8:30 am (UC)

Saturday

8:00 am (UC) - weekday Mass

4:30 pm (UC and HFC) - vigil

Sunday

7:30 am (UC)

9:00 am (UC and HFC)

10:30 am (UC and HFC)

12:00 pm (UC)